Review: ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Sacramento Ballet

The Nutcracker

An old favorite graces a new stage.

An old favorite graces a new stage.

Photo courtesy of marissa gearhart

Thu 7:30pm, Fri 7:30pm, Sat 2pm & 7:30pm, Sun 2pm & 7:30pm; Through 12/22; $25-$107; Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., (916) 808-5181,
Rated 4.0

It’s a new Nutcracker on a new stage, but this year’s Sacramento Ballet version of the venerable holiday treat remains dazzling and delightful, despite a couple of anomalies.

Artistic Director Amy Seiwert set a high bar for herself in her first season as head of the company last year, creating her own version of The Nutcracker, making the heroine a little more mature, with more confidence and a growing sense of self.

This year, Seiwert had another challenge: She had to restage the whole thing for a different theater. Because of renovations, the Community Center Theater is unavailable and the Ballet has to perform in Memorial Auditorium on a stage that looks smaller and apparently won't accommodate some of the production's props.

Nevertheless, the performances still shine. Bobby Briscoe—a former company member who has returned to the fold—is excellent as the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer and in the Spanish Dance. Julia Feldman shines as the Sugar Plum Fairy (with Dylan Keane as her Cavalier), as does Lauryn Winterhalder as The Rose. Many of the major roles are double or triple cast, so dancers may vary by performance.

This week, the Ballet will offer live audio description of visual details for blind and sight-impaired audience members at the 2 p.m. Saturday performance. Visually impaired audience members will receive a 20% discount on ticket prices.